Skip to main content
6:00 pm
and mothers have died for this franchise. >> thank you. with that, we will end this press conference and we will stay around in case you have further questions. >> wendy davis will speak at the national press club luncheon trade she launched a filibuster against the texas senate abortion bill. it eventually passed in july. we will have live coverage of remarks beginning at 1:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. later in the day, new jersey democratic candidates will debate live from the campus of montclair state university. rushan watch cory booker, holt and frank pallone and new jersey state assembly member sheila oliver@7:30 p.m. eastern also on c-span. " isoining us on "newsmakers
6:01 pm
senator patrick leahy. .hanks for joining us joining us for the questioning, phil mattingly, of bloomberg news. and legal affairs for cq roll call. thank you for joining us. >> thank you for being here. >> your committee has been at the center of two of the biggest debates, guns and immigration. as we head into this recess, i'd like to know what your personal top priorities are for the remainder of the year. -having a lot of quiet -- i've been having a lot of quiet meetings with members of the house. to get something on the president's. hearing this week, is getting nsa
6:02 pm
information on americans, i don't think there is enough transparency. i intend to work for some limitations and have the american people have a better idea how the secret court, the fisa court works. i want to do a number of other things. senator corner of texas and i are working on a way to get forensic labs. if somebody is going to be charged with a crime, and there is dna evidence, there is at least certain standards so we do not have some of the terrible this takes we have seen in the past. i can say that as a former prosecutor. i have also tried to change the way we sentence people.
6:03 pm
the way the federal judges moved away from mandatory minimums. >> the fact that you have someone like senator rand paul joining you -- this week, senator lee is also interested in doing that. is this a new influx of libertarians leading republicans and improving the chances of passing that sort of bill -- >> i'm hoping so. i've always sought republican cosponsors. i wrote the bill for the organic farms standards, which became a huge organic farm movement in this country. i sought out a republican cosponsor, a senior republican senator. i think we have become too polarized, too partisan in the
6:04 pm
house and senate. just as i did in immigration and -- yang of eight --gang gang of eight, i want to get republicans on board. they shouldn't be republican or democrat. it makes good sense. to have a way to know if you are being snooped on, that should not be liberal or conservative. that should be a good, commonsense matter. i am pleased to see some of the support i've gotten from the right. darnple of these bills are good bills or someone did not read it, someone joked. >> do you trust the nsa?
6:05 pm
>> the nsa can do a lot of things that can be helpful to the united states, but i think they have gotten too carried away by what is technologically feasible, as compared to what is necessary for our security. i raise the question with them, and i will send a letter today to the republican senator asking what disciplinary steps were why they are allowing a 29-year-old contractor to come in and steal everything they have, going to china and to russia with it. if this happened at a company such as ibm, people would be fired. managers would be fired. they have all kinds of checks that that would not happen. nsa has gotten too carried away
6:06 pm
with what is technologically , not what is best for the security of the united states. i see that, having been briefed on some things where they have been essentially in finding -- essential in finding enemies. you can get a false sense of security by doing too much. >> why do you think these phone records did not prevent or thwart potential terrorist attacks -- >> sometimes, just having phone records is not enough unless you have some idea why you're getting it. yesterday, if we had all this before 9/11, we would not have had 9/11. no. about a lot of the hijackers before 9/11. we had it in minnesota. we had an fbi agent, assistant u.s. attorney trying to warn
6:07 pm
headquarters in washington that you have a problem with these strange people who are into flying airplanes. they said, we know best about this. let us worry about it. they did nothing. it was a different administration at that time. on september 10, they wanted to cut their counterintelligence budget considerably. september 12, they wanted to double it. something during the airing this week which we all quoted, it has not been proven to me that this is -- but the phone record collection has been as useful as you say it is. if you cannot prove it to me, it should end. what do they need to show it to you -- show to you to prove that it is essential? would you consider legislation to shut down the 215 phone record collection program? >> they have not proven it to
6:08 pm
me. i have read all the material. it is not proven to me that it has made it safer. it has shown me that we collect a huge amount of information. job did not do a very good storing -- as we saw with edward snowden. , thats inconceivable someone in the corporate world, private sector could walk out on a company with all that kind of information, yet he was able to. i have to be convinced were not just collecting for the sake of collecting. they would argue, of course it is essential. some of the best terrorist lots we have uncovered -- plots we have uncovered that were afforded was a result of human intelligence, and that has given .s leads
6:09 pm
following normal court orders, you can go and search telephone records and telephone calls, not the other way around. >> how much pressure are you getting from the obama administration right now? they are in a defensive mode. are they calling you behind closed doors and saying, would you please lay off our guys a little bit here? >> no. i talked with the president. i talked with him yesterday. we are friends. i have a great deal of admiration for him. that he has a responsibility keeping america safe. wants all the tools possible. i agree, we should have all the tools within the framework of our constitution. i can give you ways to make us totally safe. seal all our borders.
6:10 pm
cap everybody's phone calls -- tap everybody's phone calls. you might be safer, but are you -- would you want that as americans? we're always going to face terrorist threats, just as germany and italy and many others. we have seen a rise in al qaeda. we spend $1 trillion in the iraq war. we spent $1 trillion going into iraq. we were told this was for our safety. it did not make us safer. we will be paying for it for decades. we lost thousands of good men and women there. the place is chaotic today. just because we can do something, doesn't mean it always makes sense to do it.
6:11 pm
>> some have said that this in the third term of president bush on national security issues. would you classify it as that? bushknow that president and i discussed this a lot. he worried about another 9/11 attack. i think he realized that his administration dropped the ball. any president is going to worry about it. the sunset provisions. i joined with the conservative republican leader in the house to put in the sunset provisions
6:12 pm
because we both felt if it was open-ended, if the patriot act would never and, nobody would do any oversight. because it had to be renewed, people came back and questioned it. a number of mistakes were made. i made some proposals, some of which were excepted and some of which were not. >> i want to switch gears and talk about judges. your committee is working very hard to confirm these three judges that president obama named to the d c circuit court of appeals, often called the second-most high court and the country. republicans have signaled they intend to block these nominees, at least at the -- level. if they decide to filibuster these nominees, how should your party react to that? >> we should have the ability to vote them up or down.
6:13 pm
an extraordinarily well- qualified person, one of the most well qualified people to ever be nominated to that court. extraordinarily qualified to be a member of the supreme court. lot higher than it whenuring the bush tenure, they said they needed new judges. my response is, the caseload required those judges when it was a republican president. now we have a much higher caseload. a democratic president. we don't need it. we had two courts of appeal judges supported by republicans in other circuits. it went through easily. have thed not begin to caseload or complexity of the d c circuit. circuit. a lot of things ago through the administrative parts of our
6:14 pm
government go there, and that court can do more to work the will of the president or the will ofthwart the president or congress. fact,of the cases, in you, me or anyone else -- on drugs, healthcare goes to the d.c. circuit. they do not want a balanced court. or not asking for republican democratic court. i want one that is balanced. it's not balanced now. they're trying to keep it unbalanced. >> if republicans filibuster, should a rule change be on the table or off the table? >> rule change will come back on the table. it is one thing if you have somebody who is not qualified. these people are extraordinarily well-qualified. >> you mentioned the supreme court decision on voting rights
6:15 pm
that everyone is dealing with right now. do you feel that the justice department may have caused problems for the legislative process by pursuing section 3 in texas? >> the justice department had to move. two hours changes after the decision came down. this is not a state acting like they were open to negotiation or all thert to make sure problems with voting could be fixed. i'm hoping we can go back and have a new voting rights act the supreme court is sharply divided. -- act. the supreme court is sharply divided. the house and the senate voted.
6:16 pm
there voted for by republicans and democrats. five people say you must have done it wrong. they admitted there will still be voting rights violations. john lewis and i grew up in the civil rights era. they both say we have got to come in with this. we did it in a nonpartisan way last time. i would like for us to do that again. >> john might have had a story where he talked to a
6:17 pm
councilmember and he said a lot of republican support this but they do not want to be named publicly. why is that? >> you have a small but very vocal minority. a republican party that has taken in idealistic attitude, get rid of everything. -- nihilistic attitude. they are the ones that killed the major farm bill. >> do you want to name names? [laughter] >> that is why even during the debate running up to the immigration bill people were saying they could not possibly get through the committee. all but two of the votes were bipartisan.
6:18 pm
i met quietly in my capital office asking republicans and democrats how to work this out. i am doing the same thing with voting rights. do not put us in the league. >> you have been talking to constitutional scholars. what have you been asking them? first let's look at what the supreme court said. some like the descent of the case. having said that, how do we write something that will give this an attack?
6:19 pm
i am going to try to get as many as possible. how do we do it? i want to be strong enough that when i go with concerns, i can say this has a strong constitutional backing. i was in private practice. vermont does not require you to become a total -- urged on the voting rights act. i am trying to learn what makes sense. >> after the gun legislation was
6:20 pm
delayed, the president held an emotional news conference about newtown shooting. he said this is round one. is it realistic? >> i wish we could. we have several part of that out with a i partisan vote i am a -- i am a gun owner. the largehave been. majority of people in vermont are gun owners. they say, why they have to fill out these forms and a background check? why should we be allowing people to go into an unregistered gun show when they have 12 felonies and buy a gun?
6:21 pm
they agree that loophole should why shouldn't everybody have to go through it? something that the vast majority of americans agree on. is there a change in dynamic in the senate? >> this is something that would make a lot of sense. it is not going to get through is unfortunate. could you pass one law that would stop all the gun laws? can you do a lot better? unfortunately, you have some on the left such as the mayor of new york city who did not help a bit with his ads. he turned off some people who might have been supportive.
6:22 pm
he has some on the far right who say the second amendment allows there has toof that. be balance in between. >> just a quick follow-up. tom jones was confirmed this nra withdidn't the against him -- whip against him? there was a sportsman gun group that came up for him. i think there were enough pushbacks to push the universal background check.the nra used to support it. a lot of people. thought,let's not get involved in this again.
6:23 pm
why don't we strictly enforce the gun laws we have? if you go seven years blocking anybody, why aren't you enforcing the laws?you can't do that. here is a man who is as well- qualified as anybody in the country. >> did it to take place in egypt? -- a coup take place in egypt? >> yes. is that too wishy-washy? [laughter] the white house has said it is not a coup at the moment. a democratically elected president, even someone doing a job as lousy as morsi was, they replaced him by the military.
6:24 pm
i'm a small town lawyer from vermont. in the call that a coup. foreign operations bill, or --ber -- -- remember certain steps are to be taken to restore democracy. the next part of that will be loud if those steps are taken.-- allowed if those steps are taken. morsi is not suddenly going to it doesck as president. not mean we have to say, here is a blank check. you have got to follow some specific steps to freedom of
6:25 pm
press. and in restoration of democracy. i a couple of follow-ups.>> am curious if you see a way to close guantanamo? george w. bush wanted to close it. we are spending hundreds of millions of dollars for nothing. if we have people who are a a threat to us, they bring them into the federal courts. there we have maximum-security prisons from which they would never escape.otherwise we have something that makes it look like -- opposed to everything we stand for, to the rest of the world. i know the legislation has passed. i voted against it. it would make it harder for the president to close it. the sooner we close it, the there are 80 plus
6:26 pm
detainees cleared for release in guantanamo. concrete timeline on when they will be released? >> i know the president wants it done. to leave office with guantanamo still open. president bush did not. i think it can be done. for some reason we have this terrible fear of catching a terrorist. we can't prosecute them in federal courts. why not? we have the best federal courts in the world. so far we have had hundreds of convictions in our courts. we have had four or five in the military tribunals. demonstrate -- why not demonstrate to the rest of the world that we are not afraid? >> what are your plans for the
6:27 pm
august recess? i'm going to spend all of august in vermont. i will be able to do a number of things around the state. i will not have to wear a tie. my wife and i will have our five grandchildren with us in vermont. we will spoil them rotten and then turn them back to the their parents to deal with. [laughter] >> is john mccain a new close ally of the senate? >> john mccain is john mccain. i have known him. we will sometimes be shouting at each other. five minutes later we're walking arm in arm down the halls. i'll tell you one thing about if he disagrees with you, he has no hesitation to tell you. sometimes very emphatically.
6:28 pm
president and for reaching out. i give john credit. they have areas they disagree with. they say, let's work on the things we agree on. i've been here with democratic and republican presidents. i try to work with each one of them on things. label?es about the party do what is best. , thank you fory being with us. we continue the conversation with phil mattingly, who covers bloomberg news. what news did he make today? >> i was interested to hear him talk about the gun legislation that failed on the floor in april.
6:29 pm
obama and other leading democrats believed it is round one. it's sort of dropped from the radar as immigration came back we heard from the chairman of the judiciary committee,he does not think it is going to come back. that has now closed. it was interesting to me that he seemed to indicate that michael bloomberg may be heard the debate more than he held.-- maybe heard the debate more than he helped the debate. more than heebate helped the debate. he put out ads that were very challenging to conservative democrats. it seems that way he was saying they might have put it forward. >> sometimes these are helping and sometimes hurting. >> they have been pretty clear. they are willing to go after anybody whether they are republicans or democrats. they are concerned that it might cost them seats in the election.
6:30 pm
if that's the case, instead of losing a conservative pro-gun democrat, he's going to be replaced with a conservative pro-gun republican. when asked about egypt, he did not mince words. >> it was a blunt response. out a position as a leader in this debate now. he said it was a coup without any question whatsoever. when you have people like john mccain and patrick leahy working where they are, it is problematic. >> you have covered him in the how has he positioned himself within the democratic caucus of the senate? voice inan independent some ways. he disagreed with the white house on several fronts. he is fairly independent.

CSPAN August 4, 2013 6:00pm-6:31pm EDT

News/Business. Media personalities discuss current issues.

TOPIC FREQUENCY Us 10, John Mccain 4, Vermont 4, Egypt 3, Phil Mattingly 2, Texas 2, Patrick Leahy 2, United States 2, Lee 1, Cory Booker 1, Holt 1, Hanks 1, Frank Pallone 1, Yang 1, Obama Administration 1, Montclair State University 1, Ibm 1, Nsa 1, Texas Senate Abortion Bill 1, Fisa 1
Network CSPAN
Duration 00:31:00
Scanned in San Francisco, CA, USA
Source Comcast Cable
Tuner Channel 17
Video Codec mpeg2video
Audio Cocec ac3
Pixel width 704
Pixel height 480
Sponsor Internet Archive
Audio/Visual sound, color

disc Borrow a DVD of this show
info Stream Only
Uploaded by
TV Archive
on 8/4/2013